we’re not in rüsselsheim anymore toto

After having dragged you all along on this year-long renovation experiment, it seems only fair to share the bounty. I am a bit late to the start, and I have been chagrined by your pleas for photographic evidence. You see, I am plagued with a streak of neurotic perfectionism that greatly contradicts my general fondness for chaos, and I have been scrambling over unfinished, unimportant details in order to make trash house (as I fondly like to call my mostly scavenged diy masterpiece) all the more shiny and spectacular for you before removing her virtual veil.

Frankly, I am astounded that I’m really finished—well, finished enough to be sleeping in trash house, lighting the wood stove in trash house, and gazing around the room looking at the physical reality of what I’ve been imagining for over a year. Technically I’m not really finished—someday soon the pleas of my frozen feet will be too loud to ignore and I will insulate the floor—but as far as daily life goes, trash house is ready to have a bottle of champagne smashed against her snow-bobbled buttocks.

So, though I find her innards more attractive in the detailed photos I posted yesterday as a preview, here are some before-and-after pictures for your consideration. May they astound you the way that comparing my memories of the last year to the present astounds me.

once upon a wagon…

When I first got trash house home from Rüsselsheim after digging her out of the garden where she’d spent the last 20 years she looked like this:

My very own sleeping beauty, given to me for zero euro because sometimes people would rather just be rid of something than to do the work of taking it with them when they move. My first task was to insulate the walls. Below you’ll find her stripped and defiled some months later:

And today, parked in a new spot, covered in snow, and bedecked with a wind chime from the beloved Mr. and Mrs. Sprinkles:

The siding in the pictures above was born of an ex-ceiling from the Beard’s mother’s house. The hose carries water from the rain gutter and into the rain barrel that will make watering my garden next summer exponentially easier. The hose is from the trash, the barrel is from the trash, the ladder, the candle holder, trash, trash, trash, etc, usw, et. al.

In the picture below you can see the one side I managed to cover with the original boards (only one side’s worth of boards survived the crow bar’s wrath and my impatience), and the end I sided with boards from Natasha’s ex-ceiling. Most of them were kind of fucked, so next summer will probably see another brief re-siding project. My neurotic side wishes that all four sides looked exactly the same, but since I usually don’t have to look at them all at once, and I like having saved some of those purdy original boards, my neurosis’ twitchy pleas for further symmetry remain quiet enough to ignore.

And, lo!, please note the glass that graces the bed-side window. Oo la la.

So friends, you’ve seen the ads, now let’s take a look inside.

First, the climatic before photo. Summer 2009: shortly after hauling trash house home from Rüsselsheim, I filled her innards with huge Styrofoam bits that I intended to slice into insulation-sized pieces. Those blocks ended up back in the trash where I’d found them after I discovered that cutting Styrofoam is a big messy, pain in the arse. Many other objects have come from (and gone back to) the trash since. I even made 40 euros selling what it turned out I didn’t need at the flea market for 50 cents a pop.

Note the small window to your right, the unpleasantly bland wall and ceiling color, and the cardboard-brown color of the floor for future comparison:

Today: wha-la! Lived in, cheerful, and filled with the crap I call my possessions:

As seen when facing in the opposite direction (with my back to the door), before the make-over:

And don’t forget the big fucking hole in the wall where I had to cut out some scary sponge mold! Wasn’t that a blast! Does the fun ever start?! (Ugh.)

Here today, gone tomorrow. Hot, hot damn.

And there you have it folks, a fugue in wagon minor, a year’s worth of learned building skills, and an incredible amount of timely dumpster dived resources: my finished house. And the best part? The even better bestest of the best part? The whole thing–the house, moving costs, building materials, and tools–cost me under 1000 euros.

Trash house: check. Trash book: pending. Whew. Finally I’ll have time to think about something else.

This post was a part of Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch, DIY Thrifty Thursday at Thrifty 101, Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries, Strut Your Stuff at Somewhat Simple, Transform Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage, Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville, Fresh Friday at Release Me Create, Farmgirl Friday at Dandelion House, Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest, Frugal Friday at Life as Mom and Tutorials & Tips at Home Stories A to Z.

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Wednesday December 01st 2010, 7:00 am 33 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,diy,freegan,trailer rennovation project,wagenplatz

33 Comments so far. Please leave a comment.

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog. :) I am so seriously intrigued by your wagon home. This rocks!! I would definitely love living in something like it. I’m off to snoop around some more.

Comment by Jane @ The Borrowed Abode 12.01.10 @ 4:43 pm

damn! looking good gorilla.

Comment by rt 12.01.10 @ 5:00 pm

It’s absolutely gobsmackingly amazing… beautiful… a dream! You’ve done brilliantly. I live in a wreck of a house… and guess what? Ten years later, it’s still a wreck of a house….

Comment by Cathy 12.01.10 @ 9:30 pm

Jane: Glad you stopped by! You picked a good time to do so, what with me in wagon-finished blog gushing state.

rt: :) Tee hee hee.

Cathy: Thanks and thanks and thanks. Isn’t she purdy. This must be a similar feeling to motherly pride. I seem to recall you having a very lovely shed… (though I can’t say I recall having ever really detailed pictures of your house)

Comment by clickclackgorilla 12.02.10 @ 10:10 am

PS I just flashed back to first getting this wagon and thinking I’d be done fixing it up in a couple of months, before that first winter. HA!

Comment by clickclackgorilla 12.02.10 @ 10:10 am

It’s beautiful! I remember the original gypsy boot photos you showed Helena and I way back when you came to Chicago. I always think I’ll be done with things in a few months….never seems to happen. But you’ve done a brilliant job of this one. Well done!

Comment by clea 12.03.10 @ 2:03 am

nice one, you wagen is beautyful.. thanks for sharing that.. and big hello from my 30°C warm circus-wagen jam-packed with good found stuff just some hundred km’s up north from you..

is that a wardrobe leftside next to your door?

another question: do you tour around with your music? since you’re not too far away, would you like to come over and give a concert?

sorry I don’t post my real email, I don’t want it published on the net because spam sucks really bad. will it be visible? if not, I’ll send you a mail.

Comment by dada 12.04.10 @ 8:55 pm

dada: hey! yeah, it is some sort of wardrobe next to the door. built in shelving/closet that was there when i got the thing. fucking great way to get a bunch of shit out of my way too.

anyway, if you put your email in when you leave a comment, the only one who will be able to see it is me, so if you did that i could write you (and then even delete it from my wordpress dashboard as well, though i don’t think spam senders can get in there.) as the email i have down below is one i very rarely use, it would probably be easiest if you did that, or write me at nicolettekyle at google mail dot com (the email address i keep meaning to put up down in the fine print).

we do tour with our music, that’s our favorite part actually. depending on how far away you are we could probably make a weekend of it. otherwise, we’re planning to tour sometime in the summer i think. send me an email. wagon shows have been some of the best we’ve done. in düsseldorf we played in a three meter “L” shaped number and it was heaps of fun.

looking forward to hearing from you… (!)

Comment by clickclackgorilla 12.06.10 @ 8:27 pm

[...] we're not in rüsselsheim anymore toto [...]

Pingback by soup season | click clack gorilla 12.26.10 @ 3:26 pm

it’s beautiful! can you send larger images? i’d love to include you in an upcoming post.

Comment by Hillary 12.30.10 @ 8:22 am

Hillary: There’s an email on its way to you!

Comment by clickclackgorilla 12.30.10 @ 1:05 pm

I’m really stoked for you! Your “Trash House” turned out wonderfully! I only hope I’ll have as much luck with the rv I’m renovating to park and live in. :)

Comment by Jade 01.17.11 @ 8:31 am

[...] finish, click here. For those with shorter attention spans, you'll find a summary of the project here. Search [...]

Pingback by dumpster find of the week: my workspace | click clack gorilla 02.09.11 @ 7:34 am

[...] finish, click here. For those with shorter attention spans, you'll find a summary of the project here. Search [...]

Pingback by the second wagon i ever loved | click clack gorilla 02.11.11 @ 9:34 am

Yours is so beautiful! (Somehow my brain is like, “oh, yellow paint. That’ll fix things.”)

Comment by Tara 02.11.11 @ 1:56 pm

To save space:
*Omit shelving.
*Replace books with a laptop computer.
*Store wardrobe and possessions in pull-out boxes under the bed.

I have pale yellow bedroom walls – love that feeling of being in a sunny room – even on a rainy day…

Comment by di 04.30.11 @ 8:16 pm

[...] Whew. Finally I’ll have time to think about something else.This post was originally published at Click Clack Gorilla.Related Posts: White House Christmas decorations: trash and food Dumpster find of the year: my [...]

Pingback by My Trash House, from start to finish - Love and Trash, A DIY blog for people who do things differently. 06.08.11 @ 6:13 pm

Lovely, truly inspiring! When my kids are grown I’ll definitely be taking on a project like this. I can’t help but want to tell you to get a Kindle though, to free up all that book space. :-)

Comment by Brianna 06.08.11 @ 8:06 pm

Love this so much. What a great project! Congrats on finishing and moving in. That is really awesome.

I love saving and fixing things and this is truly an inspiration.


Comment by Ben Cote 06.09.11 @ 2:33 am

@ Di: Why “save space”? Everything I own already fits in just perfectly, and I like to be able to see my favorite things when I’m sitting at home.

@ Brianna: Thanks! Funny you should mention a Kindle after I posted this http://www.clickclackgorilla.com/2011/06/01/a-note-on-the-printed-word/ this week. I am SO not a Kindle person. I love paper books. I love being able to look at them (my favorite ever “interior decoration”). And I want to be dependent on as few electricity dependt products as possible. What do I need to “free up space” for? This is all I own, and I don’t need space for anything else. :)

@ Ben: Thanks! I hope you’re building something awesome right now.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 06.09.11 @ 9:28 am

[...] have found some fun information I wanted to share. While reading Click Clack Gorilla’s story about refurbishing a small trailer/wagon to live in over in Germany, she wrote a post about [...]

Pingback by Early Tallbikes « Accidentally Angela 08.07.11 @ 4:09 am

[...] finish, click here. For those with shorter attention spans, you'll find a summary of the project here. [...]

Pingback by click clack gorilla on relaxshacks | click clack gorilla 09.15.11 @ 8:15 am

[...] finish, click here. For those with shorter attention spans, you'll find a summary of the project here. [...]

Pingback by tiny living: a built in cabinet | click clack gorilla 10.24.11 @ 2:28 pm

[...] finish, click here. For those with shorter attention spans, you'll find a summary of the project here. [...]

Pingback by prelude to a tour | click clack gorilla 10.24.11 @ 2:43 pm

I love it, I absolutely love it! SO cozy, so unique, so personal. LOVE LOVE LOVE!
I would love for you to link up my my very first Fresh Friday Link Party!

Comment by Maureen 10.28.11 @ 8:28 am

Thanks Maureen! And I’m so there.

Comment by doodle 10.28.11 @ 6:48 pm

[...] finish, click here. For those with shorter attention spans, you'll find a summary of the project here. [...]

Pingback by click clack gorilla on the diy showoff | click clack gorilla 11.15.11 @ 12:14 pm

Thanks for the cool blog. Nice to see some others living like this.Unfortunately i don’t know of any places like this in australia. I think the councils would shut it down quickly.I have been living rent free for ten years..5 yrs in a old toyota hiace and for the last 5 in my Isuzu delivery truck.Was planning to fit it out nice but too lazy,and so many distractions outside.See my albums in “John’s Page” on Facebook.cheers thanks for the read.

Comment by john 02.24.12 @ 6:52 am

Do you have a bathroom? This looks amazing, I just can’t imagine running out into the snow to use the loo.

Comment by tls 07.09.12 @ 3:30 am

HelloooooO! WOW! Trash House is so incredibly beautiful – it really lit up my life to find this beautiful tiny home conversion, as I did a similar project myself, turning Trash Van into my dream palace on wheels! It’s so exciting to build your own home, and design and build everything just how you want it – and even more exciting to find ways of re-using, reducing and upcycling obsolete materials that others have thrown away; giving them a new lease of life; and yourself a new home!

I featured Trash House on my blog, in a post called Five Fabulous Fings on Friday (it’s my favourite!) you can have a peek here if you wish:


I’m having a great time reading your blog and catching up with your story – I like what you do and what you say and how you write and the way you live. I have very similar sentiments myself :)

Keep up the great work!

Katie. xxx

Comment by Katie 07.29.12 @ 11:44 pm

tls: Our bathroom is also a Wagen, but a separate one. That does mean going outside no matter the weather. But you’d be surprised how quickly you adapt. And of course in the winter there is always the chamber pot, if you don’t like going outside so often.

Katie: Thanks! For the mention and for the visit. Best of luck to you!

Comment by clickclackgorilla 07.30.12 @ 9:30 am

[...] we're not in rüsselsheim anymore toto [...]

Pingback by the cat, the bathroom, and the robin phoenix | click clack gorilla 10.22.12 @ 10:28 am

Staying late at work reading about your home and family. Glad I have “checked-in” again. Hope you are reading chapters of The Golden Princess @ SM Stirling.com

Comment by Lance 02.20.14 @ 4:13 am

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